Mar 21, 2012


Photo taken by Joyce Geng

Rachel Zhi, a Langara international student from China, has been in Vancouver for two and half years. Now, she is in the University Transfer Program, and she wants to go to UBC in the Arts & Science program. Here is the interview about her experience on volunteering in Vancouver.

1. How many volunteer positions have you held?

I have volunteered in five different positions.  I am currently volunteering in one right now.

2. What do you do at your current volunteer position?

I currently volunteer in a thrift store.

3. How long have you been doing this for?

Almost half a year.

4. What motivations lead you to find your volunteer position?

First of all, transferring to UBC requires lots of social activities, so I think volunteering is a good way to gain that kind of experience. Also, I know that volunteering can offer opportunities to meet different kinds of people, improve social skills, and learn how to cooperate with others.

5. How did you find your volunteer position?

Actually, one of my friends told me about this position, but I also see a lot of volunteer positions posted in the hallways all around Langara.

6. What do you value about volunteering? What you have learned?

It is such a great way to gain experience like interpersonal skills. Also, it can position you ahead of other graduates with similar educational background and career goals.

7. Do you have any expectations for your volunteer experience?

I may still want to improve my social and practical work skills. Also, I want to know more about how I have contributed to society. I am volunteering at Treasure Cottage Thrift store now, and all the money we have made will support the children at SOS Children’s Village. I would love to know what changes we have made to those children’s lives.

8. Do you prefer volunteering on campus or off campus (in Vancouver)? Why?

Off campus, because I can come into contact with different types of people, not only students.

9. Based on your own experience, do you have any suggestions for students who are looking for volunteer position?

It’s not “the more the better”. When you have decided your volunteer position, you need to commit to the volunteer position long-term in order to get a reference letter. For example, instead of doing 60 hours in 2 months, it’s better to do 2 hours per week for 8 months. This would also not take up your study time.

10. Did you know the IE office offers an “International Students & Volunteering workshop”? (if yes, what do you think about it? if no, why not?)

Yes, I heard it from one of my friends, but I did not attend this workshop. My friend told me that the workshop informs students where they can get local experience and what they need to pay attention to. If I were looking for a volunteer position, I would love to go to the workshop.

Article written by Joyce Geng